Can Rick Warren Host The Formal Debates, Too?

Did you watch the Saddleback River Civil Forum on the Presidency? I liked the forum: intelligent questions, time to answer them, same questions to both candidates, they unable to hear each other's answers. Some excerpts here; someone will have the whole thing soon, surely.

Raw feedback, without consulting the blogs: Obama seemed, as always, likeable. But he also seemed nervous. His main purpose seemed to be to convince the audience that he was a nice guy. His answers were vague and he radiated weakness.

McCain, by contrast, seemed relaxed, decisive, clearly came with a couple of ideas he wanted to transmit. Oh, please, Lord, let him be like that in the formal debates in September! I was touched by his answer about his greatest moral failing (ruin of his first marriage) and heartened by his answer on embryonic stem cell research --he's not willing to disavow his current stance, but he openly said he expects the science to render the point moot, which means the stuff I've been hearing from his campaign isn't just wishes.

I liked his decisive, unapologetic answer about when life begins; his definition of marriage; his willingness to support an FMA if courts start imposing the MA view on other states; his tying of the question of evil to al-Qaeda; his out-of-the-ballpark answer about an issue where he's changed his mind --drilling-- and his specific discussion of California, where the debate was held; his lengthy discussion of Georgia; his sense of humor about himself, which seemed genuine (Obama's not really capable of laughing at himself --not really). In general, you just see a man who has thought about the world and really has a mastery of foreign policy, whereas Obama seemed like a perfectly bright fellow who's learning as he goes.

Mr. W. makes an additional remark: never was there such an evident contrast between Harvard and the rest of America. Yep.

Update: Surfing around, it seems that last night was the moment Conservatives switched from voting against Obama to actually voting for McCain.
  • Gateway Pundit: I never knew I liked McCain so much. He was brilliant. (Check out the comments, too.)
  • Mark Levin (who never misses a moment to trash McCain): tonight he was outstanding in ways Barack Obama is not and cannot be. McCain was substantive, clear, concise, and relaxed. Obama seemed a bit nervous, some of his answers seemed contrived, and most of all it was clear that he is simply out of McCain's league when it comes to substance and experience. Score it a big McCain night.
  • LA Times Religion reporter William Lobdell live-blogged the session. Concluding comment: I’m a fence-setter voter, but this forum put me on the McCain side.